Kids & Family

Educating, Supporting and Empowering the Autism Community.




For children with autism or other developmental disabilities, a service dog can make all the difference. They can be trained in a variety of tasks that address a range of issues facing a child with autism and the family. These include socialization, behavioral, and life skills, and fine and gross motor skills.


A service dog can rest his head on a child’s lap to calm or interrupt unwanted behavior, flip on a light switch if the child has a fear of the dark, press against the child to give the sensation of pressure, and even communicate with parents by barking when the dog senses the child needs assistance.


Today, we’re speaking with two autism moms that know firsthand how service dogs can help children who deal with development challenges or social anxieties.


More recently, Carey Jordan and Erin Huff created “Autism Tails” with the mission to provide information, some hope, and a better understanding of living with autism and these furry bundles of love.



If you or your family are thinking about getting a service or therapy dog, perhaps begin by asking yourself these questions:


  1. Does your child like dogs?
  2. Might your child or anyone else in the household have allergies that might be aggravated by a dog?
  3. Is your family prepared and ready to take on the long-term commitment and expense of caring for a dog in sickness and in health?
  4. Are you comfortable handling a dog while caring for your child in public?


A service dog training agency such as Assistance Dogs International or Loyalty Service Dogs, and even our friends at Autism Tails, can help you sort through these questions while sharing some personal experiences.


For more information on Autism Tails, please visit:

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This month is Autism Awareness month, and if you ask any autism advocate what this means they will very quickly remind you that advocacy takes place every day, every month, not just the month of April. Family members, friends, professionals, educators, and autistic adults and youth want to make their voices stronger. We want to promote a culture of inclusion and respect, improve community resources, and we want make sure that all receive an equal opportunity in school and at work. This isn’t an easy task, and takes more than one individual and one organization. It takes us all.


On today’s episode, we’re speaking with Megan Carranza who is a mother, podcast host and autism advocate. After Megan’s oldest child, Logan, was diagnosed with autism in March of 2017, she became a mom on a mission to spread the message of awareness, acceptance and inclusion. Megan, just like many of us, saw a need for more support within the autism community and launched her podcast, “Adventures in Autism”. The purpose of the podcast is to create a safe and supportive space for families and individuals affected by autism to come together and share their journeys. Since this is a similar mission of My Autism Tribe, we thought it would be a perfect fit for a conversation!





The My Autism Tribe podcast was started with a simple mission of making one voice stronger. It has very quickly grown to not only a podcast, but a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. To say that we’re excited about the growth, would be an understatement. Our voices are getting stronger, and with the continued push from all autism advocates, we ARE and WILL CONTINUE to make an impact. Thanks so much for joining My Autism Tribe…this month and ALWAYS.

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One of the most important missions of My Autism Tribe is to celebrate and empower the amazing individuals that are on the autism spectrum. There are so many! One of these amazingly gifted individuals is Rachel Barcellona. She is Miss Florida 2018 National American Miss (NAM) and was Miss Florida International 2016. Her platform “Ability Beyond Disabilities” inspires those that have challenges to strive for their dreams as well as to educate those who might not understand the challenges she, and others on the spectrum, face.



I am an advocate for those with disabilities. I created my platform, The Ability beyond Disabilities, to inspire those that have challenges to strive for their dreams as well as to educate those who might not understand the challenges we face.

As an individual with autism, I often felt like I could not do anything. People with disabilities or anyone who is different are often targets for bullies as I was, but because of my life and social experience, I have overcome many challenges.

Today I am the International Spokesperson for the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities at the University of Florida (CARD-USF), and was recently elected to their executive board of directors.

I was also named the Ambassador for the Unicorn Children’s Foundation and work closely with this international organization to help people with neurodiversity.

I am a member of the International Thespian Honor Society, an honor student and vocalist and love to sing opera. I have been able to single at Madison Square Gardens twice.

I have a passion for art and writing and am currently finishing my first book and will work to get it published when its finished.

I also work with several organizations that provide services to individuals with disabilities including therapy such as occupational and physical along with music and art therapy and have made over 300 appearances with my international title.

My plan for the future is to graduate from the University of South Florida and one day open my own school for children with disabilities.

I also wanted to share some of the things that happened while I was growing up. I just turned 22 years old but starting in preschool and elementary school things were much different. I was diagnosed with Autism along with dyspraxia and later diagnosed with dyscalculia, and epilepsy.

I can remember not being able to put enough pressure on a crayon to make a mark on a paper! Buttons zippers and snaps were a nightmare! It was very difficult to hold objects and jump and skip. I went through several years of physical therapy, speech and language therapy and occupational therapy, which helped a lot. I still however cannot ride a bike, although, I haven’t tried a 3 wheeler, and I am not able to drive. I passed my learners permit for driving but because of epilepsy and seizures I cannot get my license… yet! Hopefully one day but if not there are several ways to learn to get around. I joke with my parents that I am waiting for the Google car that drives itself!

Dyscalculia became an issue as math became harder. I am not going to lie it was exhausting getting through higher level math and took all the help I could get from teachers tutors etc. I am so happy to tell you I have finished my college math courses and will definitely not become an engineer. I am pursuing a career in writing English and vocal studies and love to sing opera. 



Education is so important, and what better way to be educated than through the voices of individuals like Rachel. It’s so powerful to hear their strength and their passion. Thanks to everyone in My Autism Tribe, today and always.

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Nutritional deficiencies are a common issue for individuals with autism and ADHD, in addition to food sensitivities and intolerances. Nutrition is important for everyone, and sometimes even the correction of a single deficiency can create dramatic improvements.


Today’s episode features guest Denise Voight, a clinical nutritionist with a Masters of Science in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine, specializing in Nutritional Intervention for autism spectrum disorders and ADHD. Her passion for nutritional biochemistry for the past 20 years emerged from her own son’s struggle with ADHD. Now, she uses her expertise and compassion to help educate, empower, and support families affected by autism and ADHD.



Nutrition is the core modality of Functional Medicine. Instead of focusing on an isolated set of symptoms, it addresses the whole person – like genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors. As researchers continue to explore and speculate on the reasons for the rise in autism, may we continue to educate ourselves so that we may be better-equipped advocates for our loved ones. Thanks for joining My Autism Tribe.



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